An introductory guide to Padlet: Your free online multimedia bulletin board

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I am trying something new for my technology instructions. I mentioned in my previous post that I am going to try to make this site more accessible for those who don’t have a lot of experience with using technology in the classroom. I have added links to documents that have instructions that can be printed off for and given to those who may not visit this site. They can be found a the bottom of the post. Feel free to share those without having to give any credit. I just hope that they are helpful to those who may need a bit more help to getting started in using technology in the classroom. If you have any ideas or comments on how I can make this better for those who need it, please let me know. Thank you.

Padlet.com

What is it?

  • Think of this as an online multimedia bulletin board. That means you can post messages, pictures, website links, documents, audio files, and videos on the virtual wall. These appear as message boxes that can be moved around the page. When you click on one of those items, they get larger so they are easier to read or see. The best part is, you can share it and have others add to it by posting their own items. This makes it a great place to collaborate and share.

Where do I begin?

  • There are two options here: register to keep track of all of your Padlet walls, or simply start creating a site without registering. If you keep using the same computer and don’t reset your browser, you should be able to keep editing your pages without registering. If you want to be safe, register first since it is free. Remember, you are the only one who needs to register, the students don’t need to register to use a wall you have created.
  • You can create a page by going to the Padlet home page and click on ‘Build a wall’. That’s it! You now have a blank wall ready to be used. Of course, there are plenty of options that you can use to make it better, but for simplicity sake, this is as easy as it gets.

What settings do I need to know to make it better?

  • Once your new Padlet wall appears, you will also see a yellow button that says “MODIFY WALL’. Click on that button and a new menu appears. I will go through all of the yellow menu items one by one so you can make changes that suit your needs.
    • Profile: This is where you can personalize the wall with a title and description along with a small picture. This information will appear on your wall in the top-left corner once you start typing in the boxes or click on an image. You can also add your own photo by click on the purple ‘Add’ button. This is a good place to give instructions on what you would like to use the page for.
    • Wallpaper: You can add a background image to your wall by choosing one of the options or adding your own. Wallpaper can be used to organize information such as adding an image that has columns or boxes.
    • Layout: There are two options on how you would like to see your information displayed: Freeform or Stream.
      • Freeform is the ‘pin it anywhere’ option that can look very cluttered if you get a lot of information, but it always for more free movement of ideas.
      • Stream is much like a blog in that the information that is added is put at the top until something else is added. It is very neat and tidy, but doesn’t allow for things like mindmap type of layouts.
    • Privacy: This has a number of options and is important when working with sensitive data such as a person’s personal information. Here are those options:
      • Private: This option allows you to limit the people who have access to your wall to those you invite via email. In order to use this function, you need to sign up for the free registration.
      • Password Protected: If you want to limit who can visit your wall without having to register, you can also always set a password. People who try to access this wall will then have to enter a password first.
      • Hidden link: This is the default option of a new wall. What this means is that no one can find your wall through a web search such as Google. They need to have the website address to visit. It isn’t a perfect way of keeping strangers out, but it works well for those who don’t want to use a password.
      • Totally Public: This is an open wall that can be found through search engines and anyone can visit.
      • Moderate Posts: This is the same as a public wall, but you are the gatekeeper. No posts will appear on the wall until you read them over first and give the thumbs up.
    • Notifications: If you register for the free account, you can ask Padlet to send you an email every time someone posts something on the wall.
    • Address
      • Pick a Padlet address: You can change the web address for your Padlet wall to something easier to remember. By default, Padlet chooses something random, but you can type in a word or combination of letters and numbers to customize your Padlet address. If the address is taken, it will tell you. If it is good, you can click on the ‘Pick’ button and it will change the web address to what you have chosen.
      • Pick a domain you already own: For this option, you need to own a domain (web) address. This is for those who know what that means.
    • You:  If you didn’t log in or sign up when you created the wall, you can do that here. This will allow you to make changes to the settings on the wall after 24 hours. People will still be able to add things to the wall, you just won’t be able to change backgrounds, passwords, etc. after 24 hours.
    • Delete: The name says it all. You can delete a wall using this option. Remember, you won’t be able to bring it back after you delete it.
  • There are also some other options along the black menu:
    • Home page: This takes you to the main Padlet home page.
    • Create a new wall: Click on this to create another wall.
    • Log in or sign up: Another place to log in or sign up for Padlet.
    • Share/Export
      • Share: You can share your Padlet wall on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Linkedin account.
      • Export: If you would like to save and print your wall, you can download it as a PDF. If you would like to save the data in a chart or for a data base, you can download as a Excel file or CSV.
      • Subscribe: This is an RSS feed. If you know what that means, this can be really useful for telling you when others have added something to the wall.
      • Email: This automatically starts an email for you within your email program so you can share the wall with someone.
      • Print: This will create a nice printable page in your web browser so you can print right now instead of downloading the PDF file.
      • Embed: There are two options here for putting a wall into another website. This is great if you have a class website and you want to make the Padlet wall a part of one of your webpages. The first option is for most websites and the second is if you have a self-hosted WordPress blog with the Wallwisher plug-in installed (level of difficulty: moderate).
      • Mobilize: This weird looking bar code is called a QR code that is often used on signs or other print material to make it easier for people with cell phones and tablets to go to your Padlet wall. Those people who have a QR code scanner installed on their mobile device, can just scan this code and they will be taken to your wall. You can download this image and paste it into a document to give to your students or you can project this code on your screen and the students can scan it from there.
    • Get more info: Simple statistics on your page.
    • Get help: Most of the information you need to create and use a Padlet wall.
    • Modify this wall: Takes you back to the yellow menu items.

How would I use it in the classroom?

  • There are so many ways you can use it. Here are some ideas of how I have used it in my classroom:
    • Brainstorming: I give each group their own Padlet wall so they can gather ideas together. It could be for a presentation or some other group project. This gives students the freedom to work on things together in class and then continue that work on their own at the library, at home, or even on the go with their phones or tablets.
    • Presentations: Instead of using PowerPoint or some other presentation software, students can use the display mode of Padlet to create a presentation using the items they posted on the wall. Click on the first item to start and use the arrow left or right to move to the next or previous item. To change the order that the items appear, you just need to put them in order on the wall first. In the ‘Freeform’ layout, Padlet will display the items in order from left to right. Move the items around to change the order in which they will be displayed in the presentation mode. In the ‘Stream’ layout, Padlet will read the order of the items from bottom to top. You can click and drag the items in the order you would like them to appear.
    • Blogging: You can have students share their writing or presentations on the Padlet wall and then use the ‘Stream’ layout in Padlet to view it in a blog format with the newest item posted at the top. Students can create their own blogs or you can have one page for the whole class to use together. You can also change the order by clicking and dragging them up and down.
    • Bookmarking: Have students share websites, documents, videos, or audio files based on a topic and then use the page as an online self-access learning centre. Students can share and find items on things such as reading or listening, making this an online library.
    • Calendar: Using the calendar wallpaper, you can post things for students to do on certain days. You could use it to post a video you would like students to watch before coming to class or a reading that is related to what you are going to be to talking about.
    • Introductions: This is something I saw being used in a presentation I just attended last week. People could post a note and then upload a photo of the themselves or use the webcam function to take a photo.
    • Reference pages: You can have a page related to something the students need to learn (vocabulary around a theme, grammar point, etc.) and then have students find real life examples to post on the page. This gives it context.
    • Visual dictionary: Put a theme up and then have students create or find pictures and videos of things related to that theme and post them along with the word making it a visual dictionary.
    • And more!

Printable instructions:

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10 thoughts on “An introductory guide to Padlet: Your free online multimedia bulletin board

  1. Pingback: An introductory guide to Padlet: Nathan Hall | ...
  2. Excellent guide Nathan, I have just been introduced to Padlet and am going to use it in a lesson tomorrow – I expect chaos as I’m going to give a group freedom to post to one shared wall but we’ll see how that goes. I like some of your other ideas for using in the classroom though.

    • Sometimes, chaos is better than what we have planned. :-)

      Just a quick note about using it for the first time. I usually introduce a new tool to my students by using a very simple task just so they can get used to it. Then, the next time I want to use it for a larger activity, they are already comfortable with it.

  3. Nathan, a friend just sent me a link to your list of non-registration required sites — it’s awesome. And since you’ve asked for advice, particularly for reaching non-tech comfortable teachers, here’s mine: LESS IS MORE. For me, as a Tech Integration Specialist, your Padlet Post looks very appealing; I think, “surely there’s something here I don’t know.” But I would not use it to introduce the material to my English Dept. colleagues — it’s overwhelming. Here’s what they usually get from me: To use this teaching technique (note that I start not with the TOOL, but with the pedagogy), here are the four steps you would need to take.” OK, four is an ideal — it’s often more. But my tech-fearful colleagues need VERY, VERY simple steps. So, maybe you want to post a “super short, simple approach” AND the more thorough one for each blog.

  4. Pingback: An introductory guide to Padlet: Your free onli...
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